MENA, Ark. – A former Mena High School teacher is now in a Polk County jail facing charges of sexual assault following an investigation into allegations of an “inappropriate relationship” with a student.

According to a release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 43-year-old Michael Andrew Philpot was arrested Thursday.

Philpot was booked into the Polk County Detention Center and faces a charge of second-degree sexual assault.

The release noted that an investigation into Philpot started Monday after officials with the Mena School District notified deputies about allegations of the relationship. The sheriff’s office and the Polk County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office then opened an investigation into the matter.

“This is an ongoing investigation and as such, I can’t comment further on the specifics. But, I would like to thank the Mena School District, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and my deputies for their hard work on this case. They did a great job putting this together,” Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said in the statement. 

The sheriff noted that these are just allegations against Philpot and that he is innocent until proven guilty in court.